Choose Ubuntu or CentOS for Linux operating system in 2021?

2020 is coming to an end in the pandemic chaos. What changes will open source software look forward to in 2021? Speaking of CentOS, it is the free version of Red Hat Enterprise. Basically, the Red Hat reference community provides operating system updates and patches. CentOS will be recompiled so that users can obtain high-quality stable software. Since the 5/6/7/8 version, there have been many users on the server, and there is no need to purchase a license from Red Hat. Of course, there are still many companies using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, especially in the financial industry. Because the financial industry needs a stable platform and a strong technical support partner for backup, they will not use the free CentOS for their production systems.

Red Hat started its development from red hat 5/6/7/8/9 in the early days, then entered Fedora, and then developed Red Hat Enterprise (RHEL for short) based on Fedora. Therefore, Fedora is positioned as the pre-development version of RHEL. I have seen some companies directly use Fedora as the online version. In fact, this is a bit dangerous because the program quality and security are not good. But CentOS is different, it is fully compatible with RHEL, but it is free. Red Hat knew that it would provoke RHEL sales, so it bought CentOS a few years ago and owns the CentOS trademark. After the purchase, in fact, Red Hat can do whatever he wants, including changing the positioning of CentOS, but this did not happen, and users are also happy that stable CentOS is available. But things always change. After IBM bought Red Hat last year, it announced that it would position CentOS as a pre-test version of RHEL and renamed it CentOS stream (similar to Fedora's positioning). This caused a flurry of frustration in the community, and there will be none in the future. The stable version is available, but in business, you can only buy RHEL if you want to use the stable version in the future. With more people buying RHEL, with RHEL subscription services, IBM can make stable profits. But after all, the security update of CentOS 8 has been advanced from 2029 to the end of 2021. What should customers who use CentOS do?

But don't forget that Linux is open source software. The business model of European Ubuntu/Debian is completely different from that of American Red Hat. Ubuntu/Debian does not rely on authorized subscriptions to profit, but behind the technical support contract. In other words, you can use stable software like CentOS for free. This is a good alternative to RHEL. After all, with more systems, authorization is also very expensive to buy. Coupled with the trend of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Ubuntu Desktop has become the preferred platform for developers. Ubuntu is the best choice from the server side and desktop, even the cloud and the Internet of Things, because everything is stable and free.

Next, let’s talk about the issue of migration: Are you considering migrating from other Linux platforms (such as CentOS) to Ubuntu?

Think Ubuntu- the most popular Linux distribution on public clouds, data centre and the edge. Since its inception, Ubuntu consistently gains market share, as of today reaching almost 50%.

Wondering why Ubuntu is so popular?

Here is our take:

Fact 1. Developers prefer Ubuntu

According to the 2020 HackerEarth Developer Survey, 66% of experienced developers and 69% of students prefer Ubuntu over other Linux distributions. This is because Ubuntu provides them with the greatest amount of latest open source software to work with. 

For example, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with over 30,000 open source packages such as Python, Ruby, Go, Java, Apache, Nginx, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Node.js, PHP and more. This is why Ubuntu is by far the most popular Linux distribution, followed by a distant no.2 –  CentOS chosen by 11% of working professionals.

HackerEarth counts that the operating system used by about 16000+ professional developers in 75 countries is Ubuntu Linux, which surpasses Windows and MacOS

[HackerEarth counts that the operating system used by about 16000+ professional developers in 75 countries is Ubuntu Linux, which surpasses Windows and MacOS.]

Fact 2. Ubuntu LTS is predictable, stable and secure

A long term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu is released every two years, and all LTS releases benefit from five years of free security maintenance (which can be extended to ten years). To keep Ubuntu users secure, the Ubuntu Security Team applies thousands of security patches. For instance, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS benefited from over 5,000 common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) that have been patched since April 2016 absolutely free of charge!

Moreover, the team acts really fast to leave no time for bad actors to exploit vulnerabilities: critical CVEs are patched in less than 24 hours on average. With the latest release – Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – all users get security updates and straightforward access to thousands of curated open source applications freely available until 2025.

Fact 3. Ubuntu has no mandatory subscriptions

Ubuntu is freely available to download and use. Each Ubuntu instance comes with the same bits, whether an Ubuntu Advantage (UA) subscription is attached or not. UA is an optional, per-machine subscription for enhanced complianceextended security and 24/7 enterprise-grade support.

As a result, users benefit from the consistent experience regardless of whether their Ubuntu machine is used for development purposes or is running workloads in production.

Fact 4. Ubuntu LTS offers enterprise-grade support with transparent, per-machine pricing

Ubuntu is the most cost-effective open source platform with millions of users worldwide. It is also backed by an enterprise support team of experts offering assistance with a migration to Ubuntu. It provides access to compliance-specific modules, including FIPS 140-2 certified cryptography, DISA/STIG and CIS hardening, Kernel Livepatch for improved uptime and security.

Fact 5. Ubuntu delivers a multi-cloud experience 

You will find that Ubuntu works exactly the same wherever you need it. On workstations, in the data centre, on the edge, and in clouds. On public clouds specifically, it delivers the same great Ubuntu experience with a layer of seamless integration and many kernel-level, cloud-specific optimisations.

Moreover, with Ubuntu Pro, users can benefit from ten years of security maintenance, built-in hardening, FIPS crypto modules and cloud-native pay-as-you-go model on Azure and AWS.

Fact 6. Ubuntu powers big infrastructure

Ubuntu is in the heart of the infrastructure stack. It is a platform of choice when building large-scale infrastructure, such as OpenStack private cloud, Kubernetes, High Performance Computing (HPC) and Big Data. The widespread adoption of Ubuntu in this kind of projects comes from its stability, interoperability, security and straightforward user experience.

Ubuntu is also used by scientists all over the world, powering various platforms for data analytics. Remember the first picture of the black hole? Guess, what was it created on?


With the advancement of open source software and changes in business models, the era when users have to spend money on Windows/RHEL may slowly decline, but in short, I still recommend companies that use CentOS to start migrating their systems to Ubuntu. At the end of 2021, CentOS will terminate synchronization with RHEL, which means that there is no stable and secure software available.

Do you have any ideas on the choice of Linux version? Welcome to the discussion forum to ask questions.
Can and can't replace Windows with Ubuntu Desktop